Data: The Next Step to the Smart Farming Revolution
Data is revolutionizing the agriculture industry. As more solutions to collect and analyze data are created, the more opportunities for growers to maximize their profitability and optimize their operations with real-time decision making occur.
Data: The Next Step to the Smart Farming RevolutionData is revolutionizing the agriculture industry. As more solutions to collect and analyze data are created, the more opportunities for growers to maximize their profitability and optimize their operations with real-time decision making occur.
Connectivity and smart machines have been hot topics of discussion in the agriculture industry, as the profession still seeks to understand the full potential of advanced farming technologies. Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking at the International VDI Conference of Smart Farming 2019 in Dusseldorf, Germany. The conference’s overall focus and presented topics reinforced the importance of connectivity and automation in agriculture and emphasized the fact that data has become indispensable, providing significant value to customers. The modern producer wears a lot of hats, from being an agronomist, an entrepreneur and a business owner that knows how to manage people, how and when to invest, how to deal with climate changes, and how to minimize costs and increase productivity. In order to be successful by addressing those topics, growers must have the ability to easily access their farm data to reap the benefits of making real-time decisions.
Productivity saw significant increases during the last 50 years. But is that enough? When we think about the farming community presently and for the future, we know that farms are consolidating, margins are getting tighter, and we need to farm more with less. What if we can use data to get to the next level of productivity and farm profitability, creating the next agriculture revolution?
Data: The Enabler for Smart Farming
In a recent statement, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) concluded that the use of soil, weather, crop condition and other data layers is as critical as the land itself.
There are multiple reasons farmers collect data, but they all gravitate towards these 3 main ones:
- Nurture the land
- Feed the world
- Increase profits
Of course data collection and analysis is not a new concept. From a grower using a note book to today’s cloud based data storing, the farmer has always been keeping records to try and better manage their operation. Yet data by itself, on a shelf or in the cloud, has no value until insights are gleaned from the data. Contextual and situational data provide intimate knowledge about a grower’s fields, which is critical for increasing productivity.
For each location in a field, at a certain point in time, we have multiple layers of data that can be used to create actionable results. By aggregating those data layers and adding contextual information (metadata) we create valuable information. Our goal is to enable the analysis of those combined data layers and help growers answer questions, find solutions to problems and manage risks at the field and farm level.
Now that we covered the importance of data, the next natural question is who owns all this data? Because of the sensitivity of this topic, organizations and government entities created standards and regulations around data privacy. An example of such initiatives was spearheaded by AgGateway and resulted in a Data Privacy and Use white paper.
It is undoubtedly clear to us that the farmer is the owner of the data generated on his field. But what if each farmer only works in a silo and does not exchange data? Will that data be as valuable as if used collectively? What if we will start working together to make sense of this huge amount of data that is collected every day? I truly believe that the next major revolution in smart farming will be a data revolution, from using data analytics platforms, cloud connectivity and multiple data layering models.
AGCO’s Smart Farming Strategy
AGCO is the only OEM that is solely an agricultural company. Our solutions cover the entire crop cycle and value chain, from planting and spraying, to harvest, drying and protein. From the cab to the cloud, AGCO’s Fuse® is finding ways to collect and analyze data to improve customers’ operations—turning agronomic and machine data into relevant, timely actions throughout the crop cycle. By receiving agronomic and machine data, our customers will have the answers to questions such as: cost of operation, per acre ROI, and fleet logistics. Other smart solutions include the ability to move data across all platforms and enable our customers’ choices.
With smart farming in mind, the topic of mixed fleet efficiency is highly relevant in today’s farming landscape. What if we can help customers use real-time data to help their mixed fleet farms become more productive and efficient, while also gaining an understanding of their cost of operation, and maximizing the ROI at the field level? The result will only get us closer to smart and sustainable farming operations.
AGCO stands behind our open approach strategy. We developed and partnered with other industry leaders such as DKE with agrirouter and AgIntegrated™ with their Onsite infrastructure, to create global solutions that will allow data to move easily from one platform to another of the customer’s choice, to and from our machines, as well as direct application programming interfaces (APIs) with other strategic partners and industry leaders like Climate Corp and Solinftec. Our goal as an industry is to use data as an opportunity to move from the mixed fleet of the past to a modern, autonomous mixed fleet agriculture.
From the invention of the plow to the mechanization of tractors, agriculture has always been adopting new ways to cultivate land in a more efficient and sustainable way. Providing smart solutions through connectivity and data analytics become the next step in the smart farming revolution to address customer pain points and increase profitability.
Written by: Corina Ardelean